Share good ideas and conversation.   Login, Join Us, or Take a Tour!
comment by blackbootz
blackbootz  ·  282 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Election night, Norway. And get this...

I'm very interested to learn more about the issue of redistricting. I just shared with a friend my optimism for the coming Supreme Court case regarding the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering. Previous opinions and on-the-record statements by Justices suggest that partisan gerrymandering is probably unconstitutional, though has stayed on the books because there is no reliable legal standard to determine what clearly constitutes it. A few promising standards have been developed in the last few years (having to do with statistical analyses... I can provide a link to an explanation, but suffice it to say that the standard for partisan gerrymandering has to be a bit more rigorous than "you'll know it when you see it.")

This friend I'm talking to just wrapped up a yearlong stint at the National Governors Association, having met a large number of governors and their aides. He's not a professional political scientist, nor a statistician. But he says that, according to some insiders he rubs shoulders with, gerrymandering is partially working to Democrats favor insofar as the Republican advantage is geographic, so drawing maps that are "contiguous" and not gerrymandered would favor the Republicans. See What This 2012 Map Tells Us About America, and the Election.

kleinbl00  ·  282 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I would argue that if you want to have a lasting impact on local, state and federal governance and, therefore, society, getting involved in gerrymandering and redistricting is probably the most efficient place to work.

You're a white kid in a black neighborhood in Baltimore. This is exactly where you should be putting your energies.

blackbootz  ·  282 days ago  ·  link  ·  

What do you mean, get involved in redistricting?

kleinbl00  ·  281 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I mean get involved in districting, redistricting and protecting voter rights at a volunteer level. I'll bet you meet some interesting people.

goobster  ·  282 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Or we could throw out hundreds of legislators and elect a Brand New Congress.

I love the pluck of these people, and idea that a lot of small efforts will add up to one big result. I hope this gets some momentum and becomes A Thing.

blackbootz  ·  281 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Not sure how I feel about this. What's to stop the Brand New Congress from turning into the Old Congress? It seems like there's a systemic problem re: congressmen turn into professional fundraisers who entertain a revolving door of lobbyists. Also, the issue is that state legislatures and governors are able to draw congressional districts more or less however they want, creating all-but-assured partisan victories where the congressman is picked in district primaries, which we all know pulls candidates further right (or left) of center. I feel like this Brand New Congress would sour, no matter how idealistic its inaugural class is, within a few election cycles.

I'm not convinced this is a feasible or worthwhile solution. Granted I, too, think the current arrangement is a metastatic cancer so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

goobster  ·  280 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The big idea behind BNC is to replace career politicians with real people who have actually held a job at some point in their life, and have some grasp on the reality everyday Americans face.

Congresscritters are so inured and shielded against facing the everyday issues everyday people face - healthcare, transit, rent, job searches, etc. - that they spend their time dealing with moronic statues in parks, rather than addressing anything of material value.

In addition, the longer you are in Congress, the less work you do. As you become more senior, more of your time is taken up with fundraising and meeting with lobbyists, because seniority = power.

If you replace half of Congress with actual Americans who have had jobs (recently) and lived in the real world, the thought is that the cycle of politician-lobbyist-fundraiser could be broken, or at least drastically altered.

In short, the system is ineffective. Small changes (See: Tea Party) will have no meaningful effect.

So BNC is attempting to address the problem in a big way, that is statistically and practically possible... it just needs a head of steam, which is hard to drum up when people are so politically tired, right now. And this may be its biggest hurdle. But, hey, when something goes viral, change can happen realdamnquick. So maybe there's a chance...

OftenBen  ·  281 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    What's to stop the Brand New Congress from turning into the Old Congress?

I have suggestions, but they are all too drastic to ever be entertained.

The least objectionable I can come up with is have each elected official be under the direct observation of a third party they can in no way influence, and if that person decides that they are corrupt, out they go and a special election is held.

bfv  ·  282 days ago  ·  link  ·  
blackbootz  ·  281 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thank you! That YouTube channel has talks from two different academics whose work has been cited in cases advancing to the SCOTUS this session.